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Black Friday and Beyond: Future of Retail Alliance (FORA) Offers Insights on 2012 Holiday Shopping Trends
Nov 19, 2012 (05:11 AM EST)
Retailers are embracing showrooming by smartphone users and battling for customers with aggressive price-matching policies, omnichannel strategies and more, says FORA founder Alexander Muse.
DALLAS, Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In the run-up to Black Friday in 2011, many retailers were so fearful of "showrooming" by smartphone users that they turned off Wi-Fi in their stores or even asked customers using comparison-shopping apps to leave the premises. That's all changed as we approach Black Friday 2012, as retailers have widely embraced the reality that shopping apps will be used by more than 40 million smartphone and tablet users this holiday season, according to the Future of Retail Alliance (FORA).
"Consumers have been empowered by shopping apps. They've been armed with more product knowledge than the clerks in most retail stores have. Retailers used to be threatened by this; now, they are finding ways to capitalize on it -- such as through aggressive price-matching, as well as ship-to-store and other omnichannel strategies. That's the big difference between Black Friday 2011 and Black Friday 2012," said Alexander Muse, founder of FORA, a leading online community advocating the broader use of technology by brick-and-mortar retailers.
"In the past, traditional retailers have been scared to death of Amazon, which has aggressively encouraged shoppers to showroom in stores and then buy online. FORA was created in part to show retailers how they can better compete with Amazon by embracing technology," Muse said. "The fact is, our studies show that, when comparison shopping, Amazon has the lowest price only 6 percent of the time. That means they don't have the lowest price the other 94 percent. Why do you think Amazon is scrambling to develop a brick-and-mortar strategy? Retailers are in a much better position to compete with Amazon than they think."
FORA members and contributors include a broad range of retailers, technologists, marketers and industry influencers, including Muse, the founder of ShopSavvy, the No. 1 shopping app in the United States with 40 million downloads; Dave Rodgerson, senior managing consultant for IBM's Retail Strategy & Transformation practice; Georges-Alexandre Hanin, founder of Mobilosoft, which creates mobile marketing solutions for retailers and brands; Nikki Baird, managing partner at Retail Systems Research, the only research company run by retailers for the retail industry; Elijah May, founder and chief strategist at BrandGarde; and Gemma T Ball, a researcher and writer covering design, culture and consumer trends.
The Future of Retail Alliance (FORA) is an organization of retailers, technologists, marketers and influencers advocating the advance of the retail industry through the broader and deeper embrace of technology. Learn more and join the discussion at the organization's website, joinfora.com.
SOURCE Future of Retail Alliance